Saturday, October 03, 2015

Thursday, October 01, 2015

Skywatch Friday 120

Hawk on Visitor Center * UW Arboretum * Madison, WI

LINKING TO: Skywatch Friday

Thursday Thirteen 390: Thoughts While Walking

I wrote this out freehand with the intention of posting it last Thursday, but never got the chance to type it up — which is why I was absent last week. This started out as thoughts while I was out walking one evening two weekends ago.

1. I’ve had many long walks lately, more than all of August. The same was true of last September and October. I think the motivating factor this time of year is the sudden realization that days are getting shorter and we won’t have many more “nice” days left.

2. People can’t believe that I have walked from where I live to the Capitol Square a couple times the past two years. It’s only 4.1 miles, taking about an hour and fifteen minutes. The hardest part is the two block steep incline at the end. I’ve also walked to Target many times this summer, again a distance of around four miles via bike routes. And, as with the Cap Square walk, the hardest part is the steep uphill climb at the end.

3. In recent weeks I’ve rescued three woolly caterpillars from being smooshed in the middle of walkways, while a fourth and some small fish flooded out of a nearby pond were not so lucky.

4. I hate encountering dead critters while walking local trails. Last Tuesday it was a dead vole in the Arboretum. The following day it was two smooshed frogs near a pond — most likely victims of bicycle hit-and-runs. The worse was a dead squirrel earlier this summer, also a bicycle hit-and-run victim, and so recent the blood was still bright red.

5. Perhaps even worse than dead animals are the number of people who leave pet waste lying along the sides of the bike path. The city put up new “rules” signs this year, among which is listed “all pets on a leash.” It should also say, “Pick up after your damn dog!”

6. This time of year, you have to watch your step along the local bike paths, especially after it rains, due to all the nuts littering the ground. In this area that’s primarily acorns and walnuts, both of which can easily result in a turned ankle. You also might want to keep an eye turned upward, as squirrels love to pelt unwary passersby with their bounty.

7. I like watching the changing of the seasons along the bike/walking trails. Some of the trees are already starting to change and drop their leaves, and there’s always a variety of plants growing. To many, it may be no more than weeds or brush, but if you actually pay attention, you notice a dozen or more species of wildflowers at any time during the summer. The sunflower family is heavily represented, with various sunflowers, daisies, goldenrod and coneflowers. The mint and bean families are also well represented, as are other plant families. I like being able to name most of what I see.

8. If you are mindful of your surroundings, it’s amazing what one might see. There are a lot of squirrels, rabbits and chipmunks in our area, but I have also seen deer, groundhogs, garter snakes, a muskrat, and a coyote. There are often hawks reeling overhead, and this time of year there are a ton of geese and other migratory birds. Recently, we’ve had a pair of
 cranes feeding at a local park in my neighborhood, and it’s not unusual to see wild turkeys wandering about, either.

9. Unlike many trail users, I do not listen to music or walk with a cell phone glued to my ear. For one, I like listening to the soughing of the wind through the trees, the rustle of critters in the brush, and the chorus of birds and frogs.

10. I also want to hear anyone coming up behind me, which you can’t so while chatting or listening to music. It’s important to be aware of one’s surroundings at all times, even on city bike/walking trails, and I do not walk the trails alone after dark. I also try to remember to pocket ID, but do not carry cash or credit cards with me. Best not to tempt the few bad seeds out there, you know?

11. Sadly, this point hit home two weeks ago, when a young woman on the east side was attacked on a major city trail. She was dragged into the bushes, savagely assaulted, and left for dead while walking at night. Luckily, she was able to crawl back to the bike trail, where a bicyclist found her.

12. They believe there may be a connection to a similar attack in the same area a month earlier, when another woman was attacked, but managed to flee her attacker. There is a large reward for his capture, and these incidents serve as a grave reminder about how important personal safety is.

13. Prior to this incident, I did not know that lights on some bike trails do not stay lit all night. Apparently some home owners with properties abutting trails have complained about too much light at night. My advice: buy heavier, room-darkening drapes. I don’t always like the over-abundance of street and building lights in my neighborhood, either, but I’d rather hang heavy curtains over my windows than give up that added layer of security.

LINKING TO: Thursday Thirteen

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Wordless Wednesday 190: Monarch

All photos taken September 2015 at UW Arboretum in Madison, WI


Wordless Wednesday

Monday, September 28, 2015

Teaser Tuesday 279: Sons and Lovers

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by Jenn of A Daily Rhythm. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

* Grab your current book or recent read.
* Share a few "teaser" sentences from somewhere in the book.
* BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (Make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away. You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
* Share the title and author so that other participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teaser!

This week’s teaser comes from Sons and Lovers by DH Lawrence, which I am reading in celebration of Banned Books Week (Sept 27-Oct 3) and for a classics group read. The book was originally rejected by Heinemann Publishers, and is often challenged for being "too overtly sexual."* Here's a little snippet that isn't at all about what you might think it's about.

She felt the accuracy with which he caught her, exactly at the right moment, and the exactly proportionate strength of his thrust, and she was afraid. Down to her bowels went the hot wave of fear. She was in his hands. Again, firm and inevitable came the thrust at the right moment.

(Chapter 7)


Sons and Lovers is a 1913 novel by the English writer D. H. Lawrence. The Modern Library placed it ninth on their list of the 100 best novels of the 20th century. While the novel initially incited a lukewarm critical reception, along with allegations of obscenity, it is today regarded as a masterpiece by many critics and is often regarded as Lawrence's finest achievement.

Called the most widely-read English novel of the twentieth century, D. H. Lawrence’s largely autobiographical Sons and Lovers tells the story of Paul Morel, a young artist growing into manhood in a British working-class community near the Nottingham coalfields. His mother Gertrude, unhappily married to Paul’s hard-drinking father, devotes all her energies to her son. They develop a powerful and passionate relationship, but eventually tensions arise when Paul falls in love with a girl and seeks to escape his family ties. Torn between his desire for independence and his abiding attachment to his loving but overbearing mother, Paul struggles to define himself sexually and emotionally through his relationships with two women—the innocent, old-fashioned Miriam Leivers, and the experienced, provocatively modern Clara Dawes.Heralding Lawrence’s mature period, Sons and Lovers vividly evokes the all-consuming nature of possessive love and sexual attraction. Lushly descriptive and deeply emotional, it is rich in universal truths about human relationships.

* A quote from the intro of the Barnes & Noble Classics ebook edition

Banned Books Week 2015

Banned Books Week started yesterday, and as I do this time every year, I am "celebrating" by reading a banned book. This year's choice is Sons and Lovers by D.H. Lawrence, which is also the September group read for a GR classics group. Many of Lawrence's books were banned, in both Europe and the US.

Each year, the ALA releases a report on the state of libraries, which includes the top ten frequently challenged books of the preceding year. You can also find a list of the most Banned and Challenged Classics. There are many reasons people try to ban books, including violence, sexually explicit content, use of drugs or alcohol, offensive language, and unsuitability for age group. Of course, this is all subjective, as what one person deems offensive may be perfectly suitable to another.

I have only read one book on this year's top ten challenged list, but have two or three others in Mount TBR. I believe everyone has the right to read what they want, regardless of what anyone else thinks about a particular book, genre, or the people who read them. If you don't want to read a certain book or author, fine -- but don't tell me what I can or cannot read. I know the subject of what is "appropriate" can be an especially difficult one for parents. My sisters and I were lucky in that our parents never tried to limit what we could read. They encouraged us to visit the library often and trusted us to make appropriate choices for ourselves. If there is a book you aren't sure about, I would suggest reading it yourself first, asking friends and other parents what they think of it, and then deciding whether you think it is right for your child's age and/or maturity (some kids handle certain topics better than others) and discuss the book with them.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Wordless Wednesday 189: Gentians

Happy Autumnal Equinox! On a recent walk through the Arboretum, we found three of the five variety of gentians that bloom there in the late summer/early autumn. Enjoy!

Bottle Blue Gentians

Stiff Gentians

Stiff Gentians

Stiff Gentians

Downy Gentian

Downy Gentian -- love those fringed petals!

Bottle Blue Gentians

Bottle Blue Gentians

Downy Gentian


Wordless Wednesday